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Art Deco Cameras

Nuro Box


Neglected Nuro Box
Manufacturer: Nuro
Produced: 1935
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Box
Film Type:120
Film Width:62mm
Image Size:2¼ x 3¼ in
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Length:100mm
Focus Range:8ft to inf.
Aperture Type :Fixed
Aperture :f/14
Shutter Type:Rotary
Shutter Speeds:B,I*(1/40 sec)
Size (w x h x d):80 x 115 x 127 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

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Noteworthy: Worth giving special attention


Balda Rollbox

This camera is in 'neglected' condition. Manufacturing details are a mystery to me and there is very little information on the web about this camera. It seems to be a rebadged version of the Balda Rollbox. There are other Nuro cameras that also appear to be rebadged versions of Balda Cameras. Another example I have seen is a Nuro Juwella which is almost identical to the Balda Juwella.

Nuro were based in Biggleswade in the UK. Their main business was to manufacture roll films which had previously been imported from Germany. This was to satisfy the growing public interest in photography. At that time, it was the only film that was made 'from start to finish' in Britain. Although all the directors were British, they had a German technical advisor, Dr Ruedel. There were rumours at the time (unsubstantiated) that the Germans were taking aerial photographs of England for later use. This was possibly the reason behind the company slogan of 'NURO films - as British as the flag.' Dr Ruedel was recalled to Germany in 1937. I wonder whether this German technical advisor was from Balda. Was there a relationship between Nuro and Balda? - I don't know.

The covering on the front of this camera is embossed with a 'sunburst' pattern. Each side of the box has a rectangular pattern embossed into the leatherette. Both the front and back of the camera has the name 'NURO' embossed in the leatherette. The box is made of pressed metal which is lined and lacquered in black. Two tripod sockets are provided. The chrome finishing touches to the front of the camera would have made this a very handsome piece.

Special Key

It has two bright viewfinders, one for portrait and one for landscape images. The lens is a simple meniscus with an aperture of f/14. The shutter is a double acting rotary, so the shutter button returns to its resting position (upwards) once released, without causing double exposure. It has a connection socket for cable release. A lever above the shutter release enables you to select Instantaneous or Timed(bulb) mode. The speed of the shutter on this camera was measured as 1/40 sec. It has an s-shaped knob to wind the film and the film is advanced from frame to frame using the red window.

A fairly unique feature of this camera and the balda Rollbox is the provision of a special key to aid the loading of the film. The key is held in a slot to avoid losing it. It is used to advance and secure the film onto the spool before inserting the film carrier into the camera. Rather neat I think.

How to Use

This camera takes 120 film which is easily available.

As the shutter speed is only 1/40s, it is advisable to use a tripod to get clear shake free images. However, holding it against a wall or other solid object would work as well. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summers day (May - August) in the UK.

Remember that the exposure guide in the manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/40s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/14+2 Stops
SunnyDistinctf/14+1 Stops
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/14Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/14-1 Stop
Heavy OvercastNonef/14-2 Stops
Not Acceptable
Open Shade
Nonef/14-3 Stops
Not Acceptable

Photographs taken with this Camera

Don't be fooled by the external state of of old cameras. If the lens is bright and the shutter works, they will take very nice pictures.

Falkirk Boat Lift
Falkirk Boat Lift
Kiln at Nantgarw China Works, Wales
Kiln at Nantgarw China Works, Wales
St Cadoc's Church Llancarfan, Wales
St Cadoc's Church Llancarfan, Wales
Treforest Textile Printers, Pontypridd, Wales
Treforest Textile Printers, Pontypridd, Wales